Western Wall
Western Wall Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Rabbi Meir Mazuz, dean of the Kisse Rahamim Yeshiva and the spiritual leader of the Yahad party, launched a broadside against the non-Orthodox movements on Sunday and called on the Israeli government to scuttle its intention to create a mixed-prayer pavilion at the Western Wall.

Mazuz's remarks came as the Ministerial Committee on Archaeological Sites met on Sunday to approve the beginning of expansion work at the Western Wall's non-Orthodox prayer space.

According to Rabbi Mazuz, "Reform Judaism and the Western Wall are two contradictory things: the Reform came to escape from the Temple from Jerusalem and from tradition". The haredi leader added that the Reform movement had historically repudiated the importance of Jerusalem and the land of Israel.

"Go to America," continued Rabbi Mazuz. "The Reform started like this, their children married non-Jews, and their grandchildren are already gentiles. This is how they destroyed Judaism in America. Only a million Shabbat-observant Jews are left. Look how things are going, soon nothing will be left."

Rabbi Mazuz, who wields considerable influence among Israel's Sephardic community, is known for his fierce opposition to the non-Orthodox denominations. In May 2017, Mazuz said that the Reform movement "is not Jewish" and blamed them for the skyrocketing intermarriage rates among American Jewry.

"The next generation is marrying gentiles and they are encouraging it, they officiate at the wedding - a rabbi on this side and a priest on the other. I read that not a moment passes in the world when a Jew does not abandon Judaism; thousands and tens of thousands are being lost," Mazuz contended.

Mazuz's remarks come as the issue of the non-Orthodox prayer pavilion is back in the headlines. On Sunday, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked stepped down from the committee tasked with expanding the mixed-gender space at the Western Wall, joining Culture Minister Miri Regev who had said that her "conscience did not allow her' to support the Reform movement gaining a foothold at Judaism's holiest site.

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